Californian car maker Tesla has rolled out its one millionth electric car, and it is a Model Y.
In 2018, Musk said at the company’s second-quarter earnings call that he expected the Californian carmaker would make its one-millionth car in 2020 – and he can now tick that off before the first quarter of 2020 has finished.
The milestone achievement was announced by CEO and co-founder Elon Musk via his favoured communication channel, Twitter on Tuesday.
“Congratulations Tesla team on making our 1,000,000th car!!” said the transport and energy entrepreneur, posting two images – one, a shiny red example of one of the EV maker’s “mass-market” electric crossover, and a second of the Fremont team surrounding said vehicle.
Let’s repeat that again – one million cars, all with zero tailpipe emissions.
While the current global mood (and Tesla stocks) thanks to coronavirus and plunging oil prices due to a Saudi/Russian stand off is to say the least, low, it would appear that Musk at least is keeping a positive attitude.
Congratulations Tesla team on making our 1,000,000th car!! pic.twitter.com/5M99a9LLQi
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) March 10, 2020
And rightly so. It has taken the EV maker eight years to reach the impressive milestone, along with a lot of sweat, determination and learning the hard way along the way.
In terms of output of legacy carmakers it may not seem like much – worldwide, almost 100 times that many vehicles are made in one year alone according to Statista.
It doesn’t even sound that impressive compared to US car giant Ford, which went from zero to one million cars in 12 years from its founding in 1903, with a tiny fraction of the demand for cars that there is today.
But in light of the ground-breaking technology that is included in Tesla vehicles, from efficient electric drivetrains, high level driver assist capabilities including navigating lanes and exits at high speed on motorways, to being able to be summoned to its driver in a car park, it’s quite an achievement.
From releasing its first mass production vehicle, the Model S premium electric sedan in 2012, then the Model X premium electric SUV in 2015; to becoming to the most successful maker and seller of electric vehicles surpassing the Nissan Leaf with its “mass-market” Model 3, Tesla has defied naysayers and short-sellers determined to see its downfall.
In 2018 it overcame numerous production hurdles to ramp output of the Model 3 to 7,000 vehicles a week at Fremont, and in 2019 it opened its Gigafactory 3 in Shanghai with expectation of finally meeting its goal of making 500,000 electric cars a year.
Legacy car makers, forced by tightening vehicles emissions regulations and the threat of being left behind in a rapidly transitioning market, are now announcing plans to make their own electric vehicles by the droves, despite or because of the realisation of the mammoth task ahead.
The Model 3 can now claim the title of best selling electric car in Europe, is increasing its dominance in the US, and has played a major role in spearheading the laggard Australian electric car market with an estimated 80% of electric car sales to date in 2020 bringing the total of EVs to nearly 18,000.
In China, the world’s largest electric car market by volume, Tesla sold one-third of all electric cars in February despite the country being paralysed by coronavirus.
Tesla is now on the cusp of releasing its fourth production vehicle, the Model Y, in the US, which Musk has said he believes could be more successful than the Model 3 given the segment’s popularity.
Bridie Schmidt is lead reporter for The Driven, sister site of Renew Economy. She specialises in writing about new technology and has been writing about electric vehicles for two years. She has a keen interest in the role that zero emissions transport has to play in sustainability and is co-organiser of the Northern Rivers Electric Vehicle Forum.